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THE CHINESE PEOPLE 33
on In the great stream of the family life. The family system also acted as a direct incentive to quantitative reproduction, for in order that the Lin branch should survive, it is necessary that many Lin babies should come into this world.
Perhaps it was due entirely to the family system that the Chinese were able to absorb the Jews of Honan, who to-day are so thoroughly sinolized that their Jewish tradition of not eating pork has become a mere memory. The race consciousness of the Jews can be shamed into oblivion only by the greater race consciousness of the family-minded Chinese, and it was no mean accomplishment in the ethnological field. With a less race-conscious and race-proud people than the Jews, like the northern Tartars, for instance, it is easy to see that the Chinese native inhabitants were placed in a great advantage over their foreign invaders. It is in this sense that Manchuria will remain Chinese in spite of all Japanese machinations; the political order may be changed, and rulers may come and rulers may go, but the Chinese families will remain Chinese families.
Another cultural force making for social stability was the complete absence of established classes in China, and the opportunity open for all to rise in the social scale through the imperial examination system. While the family system accounted for their survival through fecundity, the imperial examination system effected a qualitative selection, and enabled talent to reproduce and propagate itself. This system, which was started in the T'ang Dynasty and based on the ultimate Chinese belief that no man is born noble,1 had its rudiments in the system of civil service and official recommendations in the Han Dynasty. After the Wei and Ch'in Dynasties (third and fourth centuries A.D.) a change in the control of selection for office brought about a system favouring influential families, so much so that it was stated that "there were no poor scholars In the higher classes and no sons of official families in the lower classes."2 This favoured the growth of aristocratic families in the Ch'in Dynasty.
With the imperial examination system in the T'ang Dynasty (seventh to ninth centuries Inclusive) a system was put into
1 The Chinese for this is, "There is no blood in premiers and generals."
2 These refer to the "nine classes" of scholars in the Ch'in Dynasty.